The Characters

Hamlet. Juliet. Othello. Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare created some of the most enduring characters in literary history. Some of the characters such as Cleopatra, Caesar, Richard III, and Henry VIII are famous historical figures in their own right. In our collection, we offer a selection of some of the characters immortalized by once-famous actors in vivid postcards from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

In our bibliography, we’ve included a list of the most used and studied Shakespeare editions – i.e. the Oxford Shakespeare, the Arden Shakespeare, the RSC Shakespeare, etc. Pick up any of these, or their accompanying critical editions, from your library or bookstore to get a sense of the discussions around Shakespeare’s characters and how they’ve been interpreted over the years. Some of the players featured on our postcards were integral to shaping modern interpretations of and some of the best scholarship around certain characters, like Sir Henry Irving‘s Shylock or Constance Collier‘s Cleopatra.

Please search “The Postcards” menu above for a full array of our postcard images of Shakespeare’s memorable characters. You can access characters by name as they are listed with their corresponding plays, organized by genre. Also, you can quickly access them here:




If you would like to browse all of our characters, click here: #Characters

The postcard featured to the right depicts the incomparable Sir Henry Beerbohm Tree as the Scottish king Macbeth.